Sweet corn (Zea mays var. saccharata) is a type of maize (corn) known for its soft, sweet, and juicy kernels. Unlike field corn, which is harvested when the kernels are dry and used primarily for animal feed or industrial purposes, sweet corn is harvested at the milk stage when the kernels are soft, juicy, and sweet. Sweet corn is a delightful addition to any home garden, whether you have a large garden or limited space on the balcony, here is a brief description of how to grow or plant sweet corn from seed at home, A step-by-step guide to growing in pots/containers or a small garden.
How To Plant Sweet Corn Step-By-Step Guide
Growing sweet corn plants in pots or a small garden is a straightforward process that can be accomplished with a few simple steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you plant or grow sweet corn successfully at home or in a small garden:
Step 1: Choose the Right Variety
Before growing sweetcorn in pots from seed, consider the best corn to grow in containers that suit your taste and garden conditions. Various varieties include standard sweet corn, sugary enhanced (SE), super sweet (Sh2), and synergistic types.
Step 2: When to Plant Sweet Corn
Before knowing how to grow sweetcorn at home from seeds knowing its growing season is crucial. Plant sweet corn seeds when the soil temperature reaches approximately 20°C. You can sow sweet corn seeds during the summer and rainy seasons (March-September), although winter is also a good time to plant corn in South India.
Step 3: Prepare the Soil
Step 4: Choose the Right Size Pots Or Grow Bags
If space is limited, choose larger grow bags. They offer portability, good drainage, and the flexibility to grow sweet corn in small areas. Choose large containers with a depth of at least 12 to 15 inches. Some sizes of grow bags or containers for planting sweetcorn in a small garden are:
Step 5: Planting in Containers or Raised Beds
After knowing all the things like soil, size of grow bag, and growing season of sweet corn, let us know how to grow sweet corn in pots or grow bags at home.
a) Growing Sweetcorn In Pots
- The direct sowing method is ideal for sowing corn seeds as corn does not grow well with the transplant.
- Select large containers with a minimum depth of 12 inches.
- Fill the containers with potting soil mix, leaving about 2 inches from the top.
- Sow sweet corn seeds about 1 inch deep, allowing them space of 12 inches apart.
(Read More: How To Germinate Seeds Successfully…)
b) Planting Corn In Raised Beds:
If using raised beds or rectangular grow bags, ensure they are at least 4 feet wide to provide sufficient space for the corn plants.
Step 6: Watering
Water the newly planted sweet corn seeds thoroughly to ensure good soil contact. Keep the soil consistently moist until the germination period, which is usually 7-10 days.
Step 7: Light
Sweet corn thrives in full sunlight, so choose a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day.
Step 8: Fertilizing
Sweet corn is not a heavy feeder plant just apply a balanced organic fertilizer when the plants are knee-high and again when they start to tassel.
Step 9: Pollination
Within 2 months the corn plants start to produce flowers, They are typically pollinated by wind but some corn is cross-pollinated. Planting in blocks rather than a single row increases the chances of successful pollination. Ensure good air circulation around the corn plants.
Step 10: Harvesting Of Sweet Corn
- Harvest the sweet corn when the silk turns brown, the kernels are filled and a milky substance comes out when pierced.
- Sweet corn is ready to harvest after 80-100 days of seed sowing or around 20 days after the silks appear.
- Early morning and evening is the ideal time to cut the sweet corn when the temperature is cool.
What not to plant next to sweet corn?
Avoid planting sweet corn near tomatoes, especially if they are susceptible to the same diseases. Corn is not a good choice to plant after broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, or kohlrabi because corn provides too much shade to sun-loving plants which is not good for their growth.
Does the sweet corn plant need support?
Some varieties of sweet corn, especially taller ones, may benefit from support to prevent bending or breaking of the stalks in windy conditions. Use stakes or provide other support structures as needed, particularly if your home garden is exposed to strong winds.
Should you soak sweet corn before planting?
Soaking sweet corn seeds before planting is not important. Sweet corn seeds are typically big enough to absorb sufficient moisture from the soil for germination.
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By following these step-by-step guidelines on how to grow or plant sweet corn at home from seed, you can enjoy the satisfaction of growing your delicious sweetcorn in pots or a small garden. Share this post with your friends and family and leave a comment. Happy planting!